From October 1 until October 23, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin caused heavy rainfall and extensive flooding throughout South Carolina. The City of Columbia (Applicant) noted damages to its manholes due to increased flow volume within its wastewater and sewer system. The Applicant hired a contractor to assess, inspect, and repair the damaged manholes. There were damages to the manhole covers; including cracked risers, displaced manholes, broken seal joints, mortar joints and brick-built manholes. The Applicant requested PA funding to repair damages to 51 of the system’s manholes, and FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 1154 in the amount of $330,594.94, documenting the repairs. FEMA issued a determination memo denying PA funding for PW 1154, noting that the Applicant had not provided documentation validating that the damages were disaster-related and finding that the pictures of the 51 manholes showed the existing nosecones and hatches were in good condition and suffered no damage from the flood event. The Applicant appealed, asserting that the manholes were functioning properly prior to the disaster, but were dysfunctional afterwards. The Applicant submitted an engineering report providing post-disaster before and after repair pictures, which showed damages to the manholes and included descriptions of the repairs. FEMA Region IV Regional Administrator denied the appeal, finding that the claimed damage was not disaster-related. On second appeal, the Applicant reiterates the arguments made in its first appeal pointing to its engineering analysis as supporting documentation. On second appeal, FEMA determines that the Applicant has not demonstrated that damages claimed to the 51 manholes were a direct result of the disaster and has not provided documentation to establish the predisaster condition of the manholes. Consequently, the appeal is denied.
Authorities and Second Appeals
- Stafford Act § 406.
- 44 C.F.R. §§ 206.201, 206.223(a)(1), 206.226.
- PA Guide, at 29-30, 33, 79.
- Republic Cty., Highway Dep’t, FEMA-4230-DR-KS, at 4.
- Univ. of Tex. Med. Branch, FEMA-1791-DR-TX, at 3.
- Vill. of Waterford, FEMA-4020-DR-NY, at 4.
- Per 44 C.F.R. § 206.223(a)(1), to be eligible for PA funding, an item of work must be required as a direct result of the disaster.
- The Applicant did not provide documentation supporting the damage to the manholes as a direct result of the disaster.
- FEMA’s PA Guide states work to correct predisaster inadequacies, or damage caused by inadequate maintenance, is ineligible.
- The Applicant has not provided predisaster records for the claimed damage. The post-disaster assessment does not demonstrate the manholes were damaged.
The Applicant has not demonstrated that manhole repairs were required as a direct result of the disaster. Consequently, the appeal is denied.